I Weep For Cinema

Avengers: Endgame

After what seemed like an eternity, I was able to finally sit down and complete the Infinity Gauntlet storyline that was created for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After months of attempting to see this film, and what appeared to be the universe stopping me at every turn, I put aside 3 hours of my life on a Sunday evening and watched it.

I didn’t know what to really expect, as I was able to keep myself from spoilers for the biggest movie of all time. It was difficult at times, but not impossible. I knew the main bullet points, but did not realize how different it was going to be from the comics it was based on. And that point alone, is why I feel EndGame really does hold up as a solid movie.

With the start of it showing the forgotten Avenger, Hawkeye having a wonderful day of activities with his kids and his wife Lindsay Weir, seeing the effect of “The Snap” made it turn the intro into a horror movie of sorts. It brought back memories of the intro of Twister, and the devastating loss of losing a loved one. 

I’m not one for having a review recap the entire movie. We have all seen it and know what happens. And boy, does a lot of stuff happen in this movie… well… kinda. One thing that always is in the back of my mind for so many of these superhero movies, is noticing how much stinking dialog there is. For every 15 minute bombastic fight scene, we get an hour of people standing around talking. I’m a fan of dialog, I mean, obviously, since Tarantino is one of my favorite directors and that is one of his defining characteristics. But with superhero movies, I don’t want to see a bunch of people in goofy suits standing around talking, I want to see punches flying and battles being waged. If I wanted to see people stand around and talk while in costume, I’d go to Comic-Con, and that isn’t going to happen.

I understand, out of all the movies in the MCU, this one NEEDS dialog. We see extremely good examples of this a few times throughout, mainly with Captain America. Him in the AA meeting for survivors of the snap, trying to talk through their feelings and move on with life was actually nice to see. It brought the consequences of what happened down to a very personal level, and made it real for the people in the movie, who have to live with what happened when it was something beyond their control. I love moments like this in films, dialog combined with superb actors, who are good at their craft can make us hold back tears without even realizing it. 

Another example is again, with Captain America, at the end, when he misses his time jump and hangs back in the past to regain the life that was taken away from him. It’s an extremely selfish decision, but one that works, and one that I think we all understand and even would make, if we were given the same chance. Throughout the movie, you watch Cap turn from Boy Scout to a man…. And I mean that as a man just like anyone else. He’s tired, he’s done, he’s been fighting the good fight so long he just can’t keep up as much as he wants to. He sees the new blood, and knows his time as leader is ending and takes the chance to stop and smell the roses.

EndGame really does something incredible, by changing the few parts to not line up with the book in Infinity War, they allow themselves to completely change the ending. I LOVED this. I had a blast not knowing every single thing that was going to happen even before the movie started. It allowed me to just hang out and watch something, without comparing it to the book every single time a scene changes. Having time travel as a big component was really fun, although they really didn’t spend a whole lot of time really delving deep into it. It mostly happens almost all off screen. Caps time jump skip, Avengers 2012 battle in New York, Guardians 2014… it really is just a little tiny vignette that happen and are gone. And I think it can be playing with fire scenario if you are not careful, you end up repeating too much, taking too long and just a waste of time… but like with Batman: Hush, those vignettes are so interesting and the creators don’t give anytime for those to really play out and breathe.

A good example would be with Back To The Future Part 2. How much are repeated scenes of the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance? A lot,  but…. They make it worthwhile, and add so much more depth to the movie the second time around. The New York 2012 fight did this a bit, but it was very short and I would have loved more time spent in the Time Travel aspect.

Seeing Thor sunk deep into depression and giving up on everything and just drink and play games all day was funny, and allowing Thor to continue to battle his self worth throughout the movie was really enjoyable. Seeing him turn into a momma’s boy in the past was again, where the acting makes or breaks these moments. Seeing Thor, the pinnacle of manliness just want to spend some time with his mom, and really let his guard down was touching to put it lightly. I really did like these moments, as few as they are in a movie of this size. But when the moments do pop up, however briefly, they land with perfect execution.

Marvel has been an empire of creating a new genre of action movie. Taking superheroes and turning them into lovable goofs, who always have the right thing to say at the right moment can be great. Just like with any Arnold line, it stands the test of time and is often quotable. But the problem here is that Arnold wasn’t crackin’ wise the entire movie. “Hasta la vista, baby” works, because it’s a call back, and it’s a line that shows that a machine can learn and understand emotions and make a connection with a human it’s programmed to protect. With these Marvel movies, they can mainly be classified as action comedies. Because everyone seems to have taken several years to practice improv at The Groundlings before becoming superheroes. Yes, there are times to cut the tension with a pithy quip, but it always feels like everyone on screen has to compete for part of the film to make it into their portfolio and their audition tape to be the next Jim Halpert.

Going in to this movie, I didn’t really know what I wanted. I didn’t really have any preconceived notions of what the plot was going to be, since I don’t rewatch these movies, nor do I reread the comics. It’s been over a year since we watched Infinity War. But one thing I wasn’t ready for was how this basically is a movie following a select few characters, and anyone who got snapped away (which was most of the cast) will not show up basically until the last 5 minutes. I did get a bit bummed out when I realized… “oh this movie is just going to be the original avengers again and not much more”. I’m ok with it, just a bit disappointed. 

I’m just going to say this, and move on. Captain Marvel is just a Deus Ex Machina. And that is bad writing.

With the wrapping up of whatever phase of this they are in, I see where the hard choices were, what cuts needed to be made to remove certain characters, and let the actors move on and not be tied down. Civil War seemed to do the same thing a bit. And I can be ok with the changing of the guard in a sense, but now seeing the lineup of the next 5 years or whatever, I don’t really feel good with continuing this storyline. I really don’t have a vested interest in most of these characters, nor to I care about what happens to the B and C teams. But, I will allow my mind not to be fully cemented in “This is going to be terrible” like I did with the original Iron Man movie. 

I think this might just be the way the world works, or how the media is so completely biased to one direction, but there were several eye rolling scenes, where you can just see the propaganda being pushed. The political and racial and gender agendas having to be put on display made me groan out loud. They might as well have had an impact font flashing over the battle scene saying “Girl Power” over and over and over again. Or just have Black Panther just tell Cap that white people are the devil and get it over with. 

For this to be the final chapter of so many lovable characters that we have watched for over a decade, they did an unbelievably good job. I really wouldn’t have changed much at all. Maybe a character focus here or there, but the completed product far outshines most movies now-a-days, and allows us to have fun and not take the world so seriously all the time. And these movies are just Summer blockbusters; popcorn movies. Stuff to watch and let it be exactly what it is, as long as they do right by the characters and the source material. And with Cap and Thor in particular… they exceed beyond my expectations, spectacularly.